Archived Advocacy in Action Awards


In 2017, HEATHER K. SMITH, NCTM, produced Utah’s first Silent Film Festival for Davis and Salt Lake City Chapters, held at the Bountiful Davis Art Center, where Heather served on the Executive Board.

This year the Davis Chapter repeated a similar event. Eleven films were presented at the Legacy Crossing Megaplex in Centerville. As a Co-chair, Heather organized 23 teachers and over 250 students in this all-day event. Sponsors, ticket- sales, and student participation fees combined to make the donation of two Boston upright pianos a reality for assisted living centers in Davis County.

Heather also organized the Davis Monster Concert, which raised funds for a piano at a Layton community theater. Heather is a certified Change Leader with the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. For her certification project, she oversaw the fundraising and creation of the Lenora Ford Brown recital venue at Bountiful Davis Art Center, including the purchase of two Steinway Grands.

As an educator, Heather was pivotal in expanding RCM adjudications in Utah. She is a member of the College of Examiners for RCM, and serves on the MTNA Development Committee and the MTNA Business Network.

Heather received a Bachelor and Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Utah, and a BS in Accounting from Maryville University in St. Louis. She is currently completing an MBA at Westminster College. Formerly the Assistant Director at the U of U School of Music, Preparatory Division, Heather now teaches private lessons and group classes in her home studio in Centerville, Utah.


HEART AND SOUL Executive Director: Ainsley-Marie McLaughlin
In 1994, the mother of Heart & Soul cofounders, Janna Lauer and DougJenson, fell ill and required a care facility. They saw the despair, loneliness,and isolation of those confined away from daily life. Doug had seen Bread and Roses’ healing with music in San Francisco, and together they resolved to bring that blessing to Utah to alleviate the suffering of many who endure their mother’s fate. Heart & Soul brings hope, healing and joy to 28,000 people each year by producing over 1,300 live shows at convalescent homes, senior centers, hospitals, centers for children with disabilities, psychiatric facilities, domestic abuse shelters and prisons.

Heart & Soul shares the talents of over 350 performers across many genres. Heart & Soul seeks to make our world less lonely through music. Our performances enrich the soul and promote wellness through the healing power of the performing arts. Heart & Soul builds bridges, connecting generations, providing an opportunity to give back to our community. In carrying out this mission, Heart & Soul seeks to create a social awareness of people isolated from society. Heart & Soul has been healing human spirits by bringing music and performing arts t isolated members in our community since 1994.

Since March 2020, Heart & Soul adapted its programming to include Heart & Soul Singing Telegrams and Courtyard Concerts in order to serve our most isolated neighbors during this difficult time.

Heart and Soul was featured on KUTV’s “Pay it Forward” in 2017. It’s definitely worth watching:


JACK ASHTON has had a profound effect upon the lives of hundreds of people, particularly the young people of Utah, with his passion for music and for individuals. A member of the Utah Symphony for 49 years, Jack spent twenty-five of those years in a leadership position as assistant principle 2nd violinist. In addition, he taught 30-50 private violin students every week for 60 years, and served on the music faculty at Olympus High School for 35 years, teaching theory and orchestra. He was also an instructor at Westminster, Snow College, and USU.

In addition to teaching, Jack organized 3 orchestras. For the past 31 years, he is the director of the Young Artist Chamber Players, an organization he founded with his brother Ted in 1985 for the purpose of “helping good kids play the hard stuff and get better.” He also conducts the Rocky Mountain Chamber Players. This group annually tours Utah and every three years, Europe. These tours have been life changing for the students and those lucky enough to be in the audience.

“Every once in a while, there is an individual who is so revered that when you say his name, it feels like a proper noun and a verb at the same time. Jack Ashton is one of those people. His integrity, humility and love for everyone is unparalleled, even legendary.” – Deborah Moench


During her teaching career, DEBORAH MOENCH has created a legacy of excellence that has directly impacted hundreds of students, as well as, teachers, and audiences. Deborah began playing at age 9, and taught her first students at age 11. She was chosen as Teacher of the Year by the Utah chapter of the American String Teachers Association and Program Chair for the 2012 Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference. Her acclaim as a teacher was due to hard work and many hours of study with master teachers, Hiroko Primrose, who introduced her to the “Any Child Can” philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki.

She traveled to Matsumoto, Japan to be mentored by Dr. Suzuki and Miss Mori. She acknowledges a long list of wonderful teachers, including; William Starr, Doris Preucil, John Kendall, Linda Fiore, Gabe Bolkovsky, James Stern, and Michael McLean to name a few.

Being a “Student of Deborah Moench” has become a desired credential. From her studio have come 53 performances on Utah Symphony’s Salute to Youth and three concerto All-Star Evenings, featured soloists with the Gifted Music School Orchestra on the national radio program From the Top. Many of her students continue studies in the country’s top music schools and conservatories. Deborah’s commitment to music and arts culture is evident in her founding of the Rocky Mountain Strings (RMS) with Ramona Stirling in 1997. RMS serves to bring concerts throughout the state, as well as, serving as a musical ambassador from Utah with tours throughout Europe, Russia, and South America.

As a founding Board Member for the Gifted Music School, non-profit music school in Salt Lake City, Deborah helped create the first pre-college, full-scholarship conservatory in Utah. She worked with the GMS to found the first Suzuki Strings school in Utah, as well the Deborah Moench Suzuki Strings Teacher Training Program for professional development for educators. Her commitment to high level Suzuki pedagogy and her belief in on-going personal development as a teacher benefits not only teachers associated with GMS, but also teachers throughout the state. “Mrs. Deborah Moench is one of the great violin teachers of our generation — legendary will be the proper adjective in looking back at her life’s work.” Eugene Watanabe, Artistic Director Gifted Music School


EDITH REED has taught hundreds of students over many decades. She has been an active member of Utah Music Teachers Association and the Utah Federation of Music Clubs, serving as festivals chair for the UFMC piano festival for many years until it was felt that it could no longer be done without using computers. The hours spent sorting applications and scheduling the festivals cannot be counted. Edith has taught children in her local church congregation free of charge for many years, inspiring many to serve in musical positions in church. In the UMTA she has been an example to many other teachers of dedication and quality work with students. The quality of performance she has elicited from her students, and the careful attention to the feelings and overall well-being of students meets the highest standards. Her example through performance of her students in festivals, recitals and other performances has helped to raise the bar for others, inspiring us to achieve excellence in our own studios.